Livin' la (yoga) vida loca
Happy hour yoga. A nice thought, early on a Friday evening, after a long, stressful workweek. But to be honest, my idea of happy hour involves a lot less sweat. Perhaps an equal amount of spandex, but definitely lighter on the calorie burning and heavier on the carb consumption.
Upon walking into Yoga Vida, I decided I could survive missing a margarita for this class. The studio, with its bamboo floors, high ceilings and decoratively frosted windows, feels refreshingly clean. Filled with late afternoon sunshine, I was feeling Zen even before the instructor called us to the opening child’s pose.
Though certainly no yoga expert, I have discovered through my own experiences with different studios that almost everyone is particular about their practice. Teaching styles, music choices, mat spacing and mirror placement are all elements that play into how yogis pick their favorite studios.
What made Happy hour yoga at Yoga Vida such a pleasant experience was its refreshingly encouraging message. It was nothing unique, or extraordinarily mind opening, but it’s a message that everyone’s practice, beginning or advanced, can benefit from: it’s not about the goal; it’s about the process. And wherever you are in that process is a beautiful thing, not to be compared with where anyone else may be.
A slow warm up of Sun Salutations eased everyone into the practice. It has been ages since I’ve been in a yoga class that really considered those new to the practice. Instructor and co-owner, Vic was welcoming, encouraging and enjoyably honest. Struggling to find balance and breath, it is nice to hear out of the instructor’s mouth that there might be poses that we (himself included) may never achieve. And there is nothing wrong with that.
While the class was very welcoming of beginners (the complete absence of mirrors making it very difficult to compare yourself to your neighbor) it was still pleasantly challenging. Several arm balances were worked in, presented in the most thoughtfully explained, non-threatening way. Beginners were encouraged to try, and even fall out of these slightly more advanced poses right alongside practiced yogis. An easy, faint tone of humor in the class encouraged everyone to just try.
The class is a sweaty one, but not as oppressively hot as traditional Bikram. For anyone even a little accustomed to Texas heat, the classroom temperature is more than manageable. You’ll sweat enough to feel cleansed and fresh by the end of the class, but not so much you’ll worry about your dehydration affecting your ability to hit 6th Street later in the evening.
You should also know: Parking can be a little tricky in front of the Yoga Vida studio. Make sure that you have a Yoga Vida sticker to display in your windshield, and don’t block the sidewalk. More than one attendee had their post-yoga buzz annihilated by a parking ticket. Additionally, remember to bring your own towel, as the studio does not provide them.
Class: Happy Hour Yoga
Location: Yoga Vida, 707 W 7th Street
Time: Fridays, 7-8 p.m.